Helping people build better, more fulfilling lives can and should be the ultimate goal for mental health care providers. It’s imperative to understand that a patient is a person, not just a patient, and using recovery-based approaches can help the patient experience treatment in an entirely different way. Studies have shown that the most lasting change happens when the patient is involved in their own care and helps determine the best treatment options for them, as the individual.

SAMHSA outlines four dimensions that support recovery:

  • Health: In order to manage or recover from mental illness, people must make choices that support both their physical and mental well-being.
  • Home: People need a safe and stable place to live.
  • Purpose: Meaningful daily routines such as school, work, family, and community participation are important during the recovery process and for maintaining wellness.
  • Community: Supportive social relationships provide people with the love, emotional availability, and respect that they need to survive and thrive.

Although recovery requires awareness of one’s mental health conditions, the recovery-based approach emphasizes the person, and not their diagnoses. Those with mental health conditions are also friends, spouses, siblings, children, employees, employers and more. Focusing on relationship-building, maintaining hobbies and treating our patients as whole, unique, complex individuals will help them to get their lives back.

Rather than putting the only emphasis on managing the symptoms of mental illness, it’s important to help build the road back to a fulfilling life by focusing on continual growth and improvement in one’s health and wellness, and managing setbacks.

Adopting a person-centered approach to mental health care